It’s Christmas Eve and I hope all of our readers and fans of the Baltimore Sports Report are getting ready to celebrate the season with family and friends. I’ve put together a few reasons for Ravens fans to have some holiday cheer this week, despite the precarious playoff position that their team finds themselves in as we close out the 2014 season.
First, however, I need to address the folks that will be receiving coal in their stockings come morning.
I’m talking specifically about those folks, who I certainly hope are the vocal minority, posting nonsense on message boards and spouting off on talk radio about the “need” to fire head coach John Harbaugh and even general manager Ozzie Newsome. This sentiment is complete and utter hogwash.
Look, I get it. The last two seasons have not turned out the way you nor I would have wanted, but this idiocy of feeling the need to clean house of the brain trust that has provided the city of Baltimore one of the better runs of success in recent memory takes the “what have you done for me lately” attitude of the modern sports fan to levels of ineptitude that simply ticks me off.
All things must come to an end and there will be a day when both Harbaugh and Newsome will no longer be among the key decision-makers for the Ravens, but that time should not be after the 2014 season.
These men are two years removed from a Super Bowl title and have combined for a record of 80-44 over the course of the Harbaugh era in Baltimore.
The 2014 season has been a disappointment, but this has more to do with injuries and ineptitude in the defensive backfield. There have been other issues, but if the Ravens had a healthy secondary that were even middle of the road performance-wise then this team would be legit Super Bowl contenders.
Even with a terrible secondary, the 2014 Ravens will make the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years with a win against the Browns and a loss by the Chargers to Kansas City. Making the playoffs in six of seven years or even five of seven years does not create a scenario where you fire the head coach or clean house in the front office.
Have things been perfect? Obviously not.
Harbaugh can be blamed for his squad getting off to too many slow starts and Newsome can be blamed for glaring holes in the teams’ construction, namely the secondary. However, there is more good than bad and a proven track record should never be discounted.
Fans with this burning desire to clean house need to take a look in the mirror and realize they are spoiled and undeserving of a well run professional sports team. I’m giving those folks a big ol’ lump of coal.
Now on to the Christmas cheer…
Making the playoffs aside, here are just a couple of the reasons Ravens fans should be filled with pride and joy this holiday season:
C.J. Mosley & Timmy Jernigan
After a few drafts where the Ravens didn’t get their usual haul of stud players, the 2014 draft class boasts two bonafide playmakers in CJ Mosley and Timmy Jernigan.
Mosley, picked in the first round, was named to his first Pro Bowl this week (the first Ravens rookie to receive that honor) and is the leading candidate to be named Defensive Rookie of the Year. Jernigan, picked in the second round, has been impressive at times during his rookie year, getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and showing real promise for the future.
Having Mosley and Jernigan on the defensive side of the ball moving forward, gives Baltimore some much-needed young building blocks for 2015 and beyond. After the aforementioned drought of impact draft classes, the 2014 class should prove to be one of the more impactful classes in the years ahead.
Say what you want about Joe Flacco, but his career in Baltimore has been hugely successful. He may not be the best quarterback in the league, but the guy is a winner and brought a Super Bowl championship to Charm City. Make no mistake, without Flacco and his stellar play the 2012 season would not have ended with the Lombardi trophy being raised.
While 2014 has been up and down for Flacco, one thing that has been proven is that if you give Flacco protection and some talent at wide receiver good things should happen. The grass isn’t always greener and Flacco has been a gift to Ravens fans, whether they realize it or not.
Sit back and remember the dark days pre-Flacco when we all wished the Ravens had even a halfway decent quarterback. Flacco has been that and much more.
Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas along with a Ravens victory and a loss by the Chargers.